Even though I'm doing my duty and keeping people out of the Haven and keeping myself in, or on the grounds, I've been very busy with phone calls and emails, so know that I will gladly still converse or help out in any way I can while this is going on. Also many of my companies are trying to do business, so ask and we'll see what a particular one is doing. Some are even offering direct drop shipments from them to you, only during this time. I am also cleaning, evaluating, testing, and selling various trade ins and demo pieces that have been discontinued by manufacturer or myself, or sometimes I've had some piece for a while and want a fresh one. So check in if you are curious.
A bit of sad news to share today. KL Audio has announced they are discontinuing production of the LP200 ultra sonic cleaner. I have found that this is the only ultra sonic cleaner to have. I hate the Audio Desk from Germany for many reasons, and could never understand why reviewers and magazines praised it so, I guess the all mighty dollar spoke to them more than common sense. And this new Kirmuss cleaner, while not an ultra sonic, is bizarre to say the least. I like how reviewer Michael Fremer skirted around just basically saying how weird it was to use. Ah, money!
So there are a few still available if anyone wants one, they are saying they will back their service for the warranty period. And no, there is no deep discounting going on, so bottom feeders look elsewhere.
To me, the KL Audio and Keith Monks are still the best out there period, and I'm very sad to see KL go....I've had mine since 2014 with no issues, and tons of usage. So we'll see how it goes...
New to me and this area is the newish DAC from Exogal, the same folks who did Wadia way back when. I love that it's not suitcase size, like a Lampizator, and with its separate power supply is easy to shelve. I've been using the AES cables from both Audioquest (Diamond) and the new Tellurium TQ (Silver Diamond). Loving the new TQ, btw. The Exogal is controlled by its own app, generally once set up, no need to app up again. It would be handy for headphone users, having an easy volume control, which I am still not, and probably won't be. I've been doing a bit of a DAC shootout with both my own here and from several local customers in recently, and the Exogal is holding its own. Quite a lovely sound, so absolutely no quibbles so far. DACs are a little funny in shootouts, as I've been discovering. They're not like turntables or amps, where you immediately get a huge sense of what each is doing. More like you need to do long term listening, to see how the overall effect gets to you. Seems like an odd statement to make, even for me, yet it's been proving true. If DACs are your secondary source, perhaps it's not so critical. But if digital is your only source, or dare I say, one's main source, then take the time, and do go all out. After you get the unit that appeals best to you, take the time to get the right cables, the most proper shelf, even if the more money spent yields only a wee bit more....with digital that bit more can make a huge difference between wanting to listen or not, at least to Mr. Picky here.
I've been told by my new Exogal rep that it has great appeal amongst women, due to its ease of use and size. Comes in silver and black. Now taking orders....so come have a listen.
now being coupled with the new extremely popular Aurender ACS10, the new cd ripper/storage from the marvelous folks at Aurender. The Exogal and the ACS10 make quite a pair. Couple via a good usb cable, and you're off and running, with rip and play convenience, will have a ripped cd with the correct tagging of metadata in 3-5 minutes on average, then use the Aurender app and off you go....
Let's see......from the House of Vandersteen, there is a price increase coming in April.
2Ce Signature II $2999
Treo CT $8,999
Quatro Wood CT $15,499
New! Kento Carbon...projected price $37,000 due out this fall...stay tuned!
Seven Mk II $63,999
also a new bookshelf, the VLR CT $3,075
Sub Three Each $2499
Sub Nine Pr. $18,900
Prices for crossovers, home theatre please inquiry.
Very much looking forward to the new Kentos...while they replace the 5A's in the line up, which are discontinued and no longer available -period, they are not an exact replacement, more like a total new design. 2 8" side firing woofers, giving the cabinet a bit of an extended side profile to accommodate the drivers. I am planning on getting these in this fall. They go great with lines I have here, Ayre, VTL, the Rivieras, and AQ and now Tellurium TQ cabling. And I love to dial in the subwoofers's crossover, using my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter and the Vandertone test disc. Like the Quatros, getting to dial in the subs can aid greatly in room placement.....get the imaging you want and perhaps the spouse's room invasion approval, the dialed in subs can allow the speaker many placement choices whereas you often have only one spot in the room for the best bass and imaging. With more conventional speakers one should always do the bass first. I've had Quatro placements a mere 10" from the back wall, and I'm sure the Kentos will follow suit. Stay tuned!
I'm sure all of us have certain recordings we use to setup or tune our systems. Something we know like the back of our hand, to do speaker placement for best imaging and bass, or now with me and the new Line Magnetic 845, to try my hand/ear at tube rolling. This Columbia recording from 1975 is not an audiophile recording by any means, it's only a Masterworks, not a Columbia 3 or 6 eye, nothing collectible. Yet with Copland himself conducting, it captures the mood of the pieces like few recordings have. Several things I listen for: first off is that the pieces should have a bounce to them, a lilt, if you will. Side 1 is movie music for the film The Red Pony, commissioned in 1948. It needs
Among the many new classical pianists out there today, here's one who's at the top of my listening pile...Federico Colli, a thirty-something Italian. Once I heard a bit of him on Tidal, I grabbed everything on cd I could, of course to rip it to my Aurender streamers. My internet here is too volatile for continual Tidal use, so one does what one can. Anyway, his performance of the Bach/Busoni Chaconne is one for when you want to shake up the house. And his Pictures at an Exhibition, a piece originally for piano that I never tire of, is given quite a human touch. Reminds me of the time I heard Gina Bachauer play the last two movements as a kid. Spellbinding. So check him out, if you're into classical piano.
here's a chart of what Leben makes these days....there is a new version of the CS600, the CS600X. The original is still being made until parts/tube supplies are spent, the X version is also in production as we type/read. The Original is still the $6495 it has been for years, the X version is $6995. It does have different tube types, and I confess I haven't heard one yet. I'm sure it'll be every bit as good as the original, I'm thinking maybe a bit better, like the new Line Magnetic lineup? I'm still keeping my original, it's a benchmark of wonderfulness in an integrated, still to these ears one of the handful of great integrateds anywhere in the world. It has bettered so many amps that folks have brought in here to do that oh oh comparison- Prima Luna, McIntosh, Vinnie Rossi, Rogue, VAC, Sim Moon- they've all been shown to be what they are, each good in their own way, yet not a world contender. As Walter Brennan used to say, not a brag, just a fact. I know, I know, fighting words....never be offended by what happens at the Haven, just take it as a learning lesson, as I have as hobbyist.
Now there is a fella up there on the chart I've not had the acquaintance of yet, the CS 1000P, the big amp, using KT120s. Mostly because I'm not a fan of the big tube sound. I know there's speakers out there that need that much power to sing, and why Mr. Hyodo is selling such a sweet beast. But that's not the Haven sound, per se. I do have Ayre for when I need the current, for Vandersteens, etc. Or now the Riviera, that can drive my diesel tractor if it dips down again in the negative degrees. I can only wait to get my hands/ears on the Riviera separates...I did have the CS660 amp, which used EL34's. Now that is one amp the Haven could get behind in a heart beat. And luckily I get to hear one locally every now and then. Sadly, Mr Hyodo discontinued it without a similar replacement. That coupled with the RX28 pre/phono would be one of those magic combos. Production is full tilt on all the above models, and they can accommodate nothing else. I would love to see a lower wattage amp back in production, even a SET! If that would happen I'd probably close up the shop and lock the doors and turn off the phone....pizza delivery and a steady diet of new vinyl from the post people. Alas, only a pipe dream...like a step up transformer. Yours truly has even written several times about the transformer to Mr. Leben. No luck. Not even my charms can get in the way of current production. As most of you have seen, I use the Leben 30 phono stage quite often, and usually in conjunction with the Auditorium T2 Hommage step up. The 30 has one of the prettiest sounds on the planet. It's not the largest of sound stages, like an Audio Research REF or Pass, yet what it does for $2695 still places it in the top tier. It can allow one to splurge on a great step up, and you'll never have to look over your shoulder for something better.
So who knows, maybe someday the CS1000P....I'm thinking coupled with the Vandersteen Treos or a pair of those DeVore Gibbon X's we might all sit here and cry.
I've been noticing different perspectives with snow on the ground, how a tree is shaped, angles of flower beds in the yard, pools of water that normally remain hidden. No less with hifi here, if a speaker's sides are plumb, if they're top is level. The snow b